Our nutritionalist James Dixon tests the best tart cherry supplements on the market, and brings you his verdict in his quest for a better night’s sleep…
If you want to optimize your health and fitness, there is one very simple, very profound thing you need to do – get plenty of good quality sleep. Ideally, aim at 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
This is far easier said than done. Insomnia is a rising concern, hitting many of us. Even those without full blown insomnia struggle to switch off at night and drop into deep sleep. Though there are plenty of medications that can deal with this, many have nasty side effects. Many will still leave you feeling lethargic and fatigued during the day.
This is where tart cherry can come into play. It has numerous benefits, including aiding recovery from hard training and easing arthritis symptoms. It can also be an incredibly useful tool in fighting insomnia and helping you to get a good night’s sleep.
There are plenty of tart cherry supplements out there – who wouldn’t want to buy it, and so who wouldn’t want to sell it? However, there’s a bit of an issue. Plenty of these supplements are either sub-par or at least partially synthetic. If you’re looking for an all-natural, workable, useful tart cherry supplement, you may need to look a little harder.
Or just read our list below. We’ve found some of the best tart cherry supplements going.
Our Top Tart Cherry Supplements
With so many to choose from, we have been hard at work shortlisting our 5 best tart cherry supplements. We have assessed these with regards to improving sleep and we’ve listed them in order of our most preferred – with the first on our list being a standout favorite.
Performance Lab Sleep
Performance Lab’s Sleep is one of my favorite tart cherry supplements. As I mentioned above, plenty of sleep supplements give you synthetic melatonin. They give it to you as one hefty dose and then expect you to get on with it. This can often lead to morning lethargy, undermining a large part of the reason you’re going with a sleep aid in the first place.
Performance Lab Sleep gives you naturally sourced low dose melatonin from Montmorency Tart Cherries. The low dose gives you enough to get you into a good night’s sleep without overloading your brain and keeping you groggy for hours after waking up. The high-quality source also ensures that you get plenty of antioxidants to help you overcome the aches and pains of daily living, allowing you to wake up every morning truly rejuvenated. It also encourages serotonin production, further allowing you to wake up alert.
It also uses three forms of magnesium, including the patented NutriGenesis®. Magnesium, particularly this kind of high-quality magnesium, helps your muscles to relax, further allowing you to drift into a deep, undisturbed sleep, healing properly throughout. Finally, prebiotic infused NutriCaps® helps your body to settle into its proper rhythms and maintain proper immune function and digestive health, among other things.
It’s easy and convenient to take, as are most tart cherry supplements. Simply take 2 capsules a half hour before going to bed. Use Sleep daily (or nightly) for best results.
Sleep is a completely natural, non-habit-forming blend of top quality ingredients. All told, these ingredients should help to alleviate stress and anxiety, soothe your muscles, help you to fully recover day by day, all whilst aiding your body’s ability to get good quality, deep sleep every night. Everything is fully plant-based, with the capsules themselves made from pullulan (fermented tapioca), and everything is naturally prebiotic-infused.
I tested this supplement myself for 30 days initially, and as someone who tracks their sleep with a wearable tracker I was able to assess the impact of the supplement on my deep sleep. Over the course of the month, my deep sleep was actually up by an impressive 23% compared to the month prior – and I was averaging 1 hour 23 minutes of deep sleep per night from an average sleep duration of 7 hours and 37 minutes.
All in all, I found Performance Lab Sleep to be a highly effective tart cherry supplement and with the additional benefits that come with such a complete ingredient profile, I have no doubt in recommending this as the best overall.
Next up, we’re looking at Nature’s Truth Tart Cherry. As above, there are plenty of sleep aids that give you synthetic ingredients and that are full of rubbish – this is not one of them. As a whole tart cherry supplement, it’s very naturally rich in all the vitamins and minerals you would usually expect.
Their formula is made from a highly concentrated tart cherry extract, giving you a full 1200mg per capsule. This should give you more than enough to get you to sleep. It’s also all fast release – in fact, they call their capsules ‘quick release’. This means that it gets to work quickly, though it may leave you a little more sluggish than you might want.
There is, after all, such a thing as too much of a good thing.
I personally really like Nature’s Truth. Their tart cherry isn’t my favorite, but it’s still very good. The company themselves are very impressive, though. Their wellness experts have over four decades of experience and their research and development team are innovative, attentive, and dedicated to ensuring the best products possible, brought to market as quickly as possible.
This shows. Nature’s Truth use incredibly high-quality ingredients in their formula. Everything is well-sourced, non-GMO, free from dairy, gluten, artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and colors. They also use very clever DNA testing by TRU-ID™ to verify their ingredients and ensure full, top-notch quality.
They are also very involved with every aspect of the manufacturing process. In fact, they make everything themselves, which may sound obvious but really isn’t. Actually, that’s something of an oddity these days – most manufacturers outsource the actual manufacturing part of the operation. Nature’s Truth performs everything from allergen testing to Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) testing with their own skilled lab techies, all kitted out with the best in modern lab gear.
Everything is as good as they want it to be – which is to say it’s very good indeed. There isn’t anything else in the formula bar the Tart Cherry, but this should still go a long, long way to improving your sleep patterns and overall wellbeing.
Amazing Formulas Tart Cherry
If you’re going to name your company Amazing Nutrition and your product line Amazing Formulas, then when you swing, you can’t afford to miss. So, this naming could be bravado, or it could be a promise, a way to hold yourself to the mark. Thus far, it seems to be the latter. Amazing Nutrition’s products are excellent.
Amazing Formulas’ Tart Cherry is no different.
First and foremost, their capsules are exactly what you would expect of this kind of high-quality tart cherry supplement. They are rich in antioxidants, able to undo a lot of oxidative stress. They are anti-inflammatory, so perfect for ring-fencing long term health and mitigating symptoms of chronic conditions like arthritis. And they are packed full of every you need to help you gain a better night’s sleep.
The formula is highly concentrated, as are most such supplements. In fact, you get a 10:1 concentration of tart cherry extract. This gives you about the equivalent of 7000 mg of tart cherry in each two-capsule serving. And that’s about all you get, as there are no fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives included. It’s just the good stuff and nothing more.
We really are talking about a high-quality product, here. And that quality is ensured in part by its manufacturing process. Though not as hands-on or impressive as some of the other entries on this list, Amazing Nutrition nevertheless manufacture their capsules in the US a GMP-certified facilities, which means high-standards observed throughout.
There is nothing too much setting Amazing Formulas Tart Cherry head and shoulders above anything else on this list, but I would be entirely remiss if I left it out. Amazing Formulas Tart Cherry is an incredibly solid, well-priced option if you want a good product to help you get better sleep.
Puritan’s Pride Tart Cherry Extract
We all like a bargain, right? Something that doesn’t cost the Earth but is nevertheless far from being a ‘cheap product’? This is what we get with Puritan’s Pride Tart Cherry Extract.
Amazing Nutrition charge you around fifteen to twenty bucks for their tart cherry extract. Performance Labs’ offering can set you back double this. Puritan’s Pride Tart Cherry Extract is just a few dollars – you likely won’t spend more than six or seven dollars on a full month’s supply (or around twenty cents per serving!)
This is incredible.
And, of course, it is reasonably priced – it isn’t cheap. There is nothing cheap feeling here. Everything is as you want it. Each capsule contains a 4:1 extract of tart cherry, so it is still highly concentrated whilst still maintaining a full nutrient profile. This delivers the equivalent of around 1000 mg of tart cherry, giving you more than enough to help you into a deep sleep.
I really like Puritan’s Pride themselves. They’ve been going for nearly fifty years, now. Throughout their lifetime, they have made it their mission to help regular families working to a budget achieve health and wellbeing, all without scrimping on quality. In fact, they are renowned for using the highest quality ingredients in all of their supplements.
They are also all about the detail in the manufacturing process. They test and inspect their products at every step of the way, often a dozen times or more, to ensure that the end result is as good as you want it to be.
All this on a reasonable, humble budget. If you want to watch the pennies without losing out, they are always a good bet. There is a lot to be proud of, here.
Now Tart Cherry
Out final offering comes in the form of Now Tart Cherry, an incredibly highly concentrated form of Montmorency tart cherry priced around the middle of the market.
Now are another very interesting company, with a fantastic mission statement. Namely, they make it their goal to empower healthy living in every cross section of society. In fact, they are a founding supporter of Vitamin Angels, aiming to improve the supplement industry and make it work for everyone.
They do this without sacrificing quality even the slightest bit. Their pedigree is a long one – they have been going for over half a century. Over this lifetime, they have garnered themselves a reputation for superior quality products, full transparency in their manufacturing process (in fact, at all levels), and stringent quality control and testing. They also ensure that everything is sustainably sourced, making them a company after my own heart.
Though they are nowadays a large company, they are still family run. They still adhere to their founding principles. This has resulted in plenty of awards along the way, as well as more than a five-decade winning streak.
You can see this in their Tart Cherry capsules. With a 50:1 concentrate, it’s incredibly potent stuff, bringing that unique Montmorency phytochemical profile to bear in a big way. There are no artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or colors. In fact, their products are known for a little color variation due to the natural coloring found in their cherries.
Their products are all GMP quality assured, with NPA A-rated GMP certification. This means that they really have kept their eye on every step of the manufacturing process, meaning both high-quality and regularity.
For fifteen bucks or so a bottle, it’s an easy sell. This is really, really good stuff.
Making Your Tart Cherry Supplement Even More Potent
So, that’s it for the best tart cherry supplements, but I’m not quite done recommending products, yet. This is because there is a lot more to be gained from tart cherry by combining it with other supplements.
I would highly recommend coupling it with New Mood by Onnit.
New Mood is designed purely to relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety and promote a more balanced, calmer outlook. It helps to support normalized, balanced stress responses, allowing your body to better cope with everything that life throws at it.
It promotes daily calm and relaxation, including a healthy mood balance, whilst optimizing your body’s natural serotonin production. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in mood, happiness, and positivity. A boost to your serotonin levels means that you’ll be a little happier as well as a little calmer.
New Mood provides your body with everything it needs to be able to make serotonin. Namely, it combines the two serotonin building blocks of l-tryptophan and 5-HTP, with vitamin B6 acting as a catalyst to convert them.
It doesn’t stop at l-tryptophan and 5-HTP, though. New Mood includes a few added traditional herbs known for promoting relaxation and mitigating the effects of stress and anxiety. It’s perfect for those who struggle with either, dimming their symptoms and allowing them a little peace of mind.
I’m sure you can see how this would pair well with a tart cherry supplement.
Relaxation is the name of the game in promoting sleep – or nearly, anyway. This is a little reductive and there are additional elements to take into account. However, tart cherry takes these other aspects into account very ably. Combine added melatonin with added serotonin and you’ll be in a pretty much perfect place. You will be able to relax into a deep quality of sleep, safe in the knowledge that you will wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed.
It’s a potent recipe.
I would further recommend a good mineral complex with plenty of magnesium to help keep your muscles relaxed – or going straight for Performance Lab Sleep, which does this all for you.
Everything in this list is good. It’s all natural, non-synthetic, high-quality fair from the best tart cherries going. If you invest in any of them you will be getting something that will almost immediately improve your quality of sleep, among giving you other benefits. This will radiate outwards into every other aspect of your health and wellbeing, keeping you in tip top shape.
However, there is always a winner, even amongst the best. For me, this is Performance Lab Sleep. They offer a bit more than the others. Their standards and the quality of their capsules are as high as anyone else. But their added complexes make all the difference.
For me, it’s the trio of magnesium paired with their slow, lower dosing that has them win out. Relaxed muscles and a clear head come morning are incredibly valuable – I would go with them every time.
What Are Tart Cherries?
Tart cherries are exactly what you think – they are small, tart cherries, also known as dwarf cherries. They are incredibly sour, which means they are generally cooked with plenty of sugar. However, it’s this sourness that we want in our supplements. It’s what gives them the unique properties that make them so good for us.
You’ll see a few different types of sour cherry in supplements. Commonly, you’ll come across Montmorency, Morello, Napoleon, or Maraschino. Montmorency cherries are arguably the best for insomnia. This is because they are incredibly rich in melatonin, which is exactly what we’re looking for.
Melatonin is a chemical that signals our brains to take us into sleep. If you can and you’re looking for tart cherries for sleep, go for Montmorency.
This isn’t to say the others are useless – far from it. They’ll still give you a bit of a melatonin kick. Morello and Maraschino cherries in particular will also be great for inflammation and arthritis. However, if you’re really looking to optimize melatonin levels, Montmorency are the best bet.
Benefits Of Tart Cherries For Sleep
Tart cherries bring you a few different health benefits, all well backed up by recent medical research. This all comes from their tart, sour juice. On the whole, they seem able to boost your overall health and wellbeing as a potent antioxidant and by reducing inflammation. This is particularly good for those suffering with inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
As well as their anti-inflammatory properties, cherries, especially sour Montmorency cherries, can also reduce muscular soreness, including post-training DOMS (delayed onset of muscular soreness), and improve your immune function, thus helping to keep infection at bay.
This is all great. Alone, this will help you relax into a better quality of sleep.
However, their benefits go a lot deeper than this. They are far more targeted in their ability to help you sleep. Tart cherries contain tryptophan and melatonin. The former helps to produce even more of the latter. The latter, melatonin, helps you get to sleep, as mentioned above. It is a chemical that triggers your brain to switch into sleep mode.
Tart cherry juice can be very beneficial, then. 100 grams of tart cherries gives about 9 milligrams of tryptophan. Though we need in excess of 250 milligrams daily, this is still very valuable. It becomes even more valuable when we see concentrated doses appearing in supplements. Sleep experts recommend tart cherry juice or supplements to be taken in the evening.
This article was written by: James Dixon – SOMA Analytics PT, Nutritionalist & Published Author
James Dixon is one of the key players in the SOMA Analytics’ team. He is a personal trainer and is educated to Masters level. He is a published author and is a keen advocate of high quality nootropic supplements. James enjoys helping others to reach their peak both physically and mentally and believes that expressing his knowledge through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the wellbeing of others on a larger scale.